Jack Matthews

Jack Matthews is Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio University and recipient of numerous writing awards. In addition to his novels, poems, and short story collections, he has published Memoirs of a Bookman (Ohio University Press, 1989), Collecting Rare Books for Fun and Profit (Ohio University Press, 1977, 1981), and Rare Book Lore: Selections from the Letters of Ernest J. Wessen (Ohio University Press, 1992).

Listed in: Biography · Memoir · Antiques and Collectibles · American Literature · Creative Nonfiction · Letters · Ohio and Regional · Literary Studies




“The covetous foraging for old and rare books,” is how Matthews defines “booking.” It is an act which leads naturally to the pleasures of adding them to one's personal library, then reading them as instruments of light and measure in a murky and chaotic world.




Rare Book Lore · Selections from the Letters of Ernest J. Wessen
By Ernest J. Wessen · Edited by Jack Matthews

Ernest J. Wessen was one of the legendary rare bookmen of the mid-twentieth century, and his letters, like his famous catalogs, Midland Notes, are a treasure of Americana.

“Anyone with even a remote interest in buying, selling or collecting books should enjoy reading and owning this book. After all, one of Wessen’s letters could be great therapy after a long day at the office or sop. In fact, if the book trade had a required reading list, Rare Book Lore should be right at the top.”

Sam Melfi, Book Source Monthly




These memoirs are the reminiscences of Jack Matthews: his adventures in seeking out, collecting, and reading old and rare books, along with reflections upon time, memory, and other mysteries.

“Matthews musters the enthusiasm of the newborn or born-again bibliomaniac while commanding the breadth and knowledge of a seasoned bookman.”

Publishers Weekly